South Africa’s Thabo Makgoba: ‘The Price of Corruption is the Inequality of Equality’

706x410q70Poplak-on-Corruption-SUBBEDThousands of South Africans have taken to the streets in the last week to reclaim the dream of a free South Africa from the clutches of corruption. In the United States we don’t call it corruption, we call it “money in politics” or the influence of “Citizens United.” But the gangrenous effect on the body politic is the same.

South African churches are once again rising to meet this injustice and providing the organizing and leadership underneath this movement.

A shout out to Siki Dlanga for her work on this effort. Below is an excerpt from the whole statement given by Cape Town’s Anglican Archbishop Thabo Makgoba:

…Today we shouldn’t be here rallying against corruption. Today we should be asking… Aren’t we ready to fulfill our country’s destiny, by showing the same level of courage that won our liberation from apartheid? Nothing less will work. Are we really so afraid of what our morally corrupt political and business leaders will do to us that we will be intimidated into silence? How many times have you read Madiba’s words, words that defined the Old Struggle, and felt your heart soar when he said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

My friends, we need to face up to the reality of what corruption does to our society. We need what I call a cold shower of reality to shock our leaders to their senses. It is this: The price of corruption is the inequality of equality. Let me repeat these words, for they need to frame our new struggle: the price of corruption is the inequality of equality.

What do I mean by that? It is simple: while we and our leaders live under the delusion that we are promoting equality in our society, the corruption that is spreading its tentacles across our society actually entrenches inequality, step up step.

A little over a year ago, almost in this same location, I asked South Africans to turn themselves inside out and expose their sense of moral consciousness to the sun. Why? Because, the sun is God’s disinfectant. Our country, because of the ethical state of the nation, needs to be morally disinfected…Morally disinfected so that we can recapture THE dream of the South Africa we want.

What’s missing? It’s not the ideas. It’s not the realization that enough is enough. It’s the determination that we need to begin a new era of courageous action. We will clean up and disinfect South Africa only when the courage and the will of all our people puts local action behind our words. Over the last six months you have no idea how many South Africans have said to me, “Archbishop, I’m so tired of seeing the moral pollution. “I am so tired of seeing the pervasive unethical contamination.”

As painful as it is to see the corruption, it’s 100 times more painful to see the price of corruption… the inequality that is becoming embedded into the structures of our society. I want to address President Zuma and our national leaders, our provincial leaders, our local leaders and the business people who corrupt them… You are responsible for creating an historic era of sadness in South Africa … Worse, we have allowed you to do it. … —Thabo Makgoba, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town‚ South Africa

Read Archbishop Makgoba’s whole statement.

@Pontifex: Do we live as children or as slaves?

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“The Word of God explains to us, today especially, the meaning of time, to understand that time is not a reality estranged from God simply because He chose to reveal Himself and save us in history. The meaning of time, temporality, is the atmosphere of the epiphany of God, that is the manifestation of God and His concrete love. ‘Time is the messenger of God,’ as St. Peter Favre said. …

Today’s liturgy reminds us of this statement by the apostle John: ‘My children, the hour has come,’ and St. Paul speaking of the ‘fullness of time.’ Therefore, today it shows us how time, which has been ‘touched’ by Christ and by God, received new and surprising meanings. It has become ‘saving time,’ definitive time of saving and grace.

All this leads us to think of the end of life. There was a beginning and there will be an end. With this truth, which is as simple and fundamental as it is neglected and forgotten, the Holy Mother Church teaches us to end the year and our days with an examination of conscience. Through this, we go back to past events; we thank God for every gift we have received and for all the good we could do and, at the same time, we think of our faults and our sins. To say thanks and to ask for forgiveness. This is what we do, even today, at the end of the year. Let us praise the Lord with the Te Deum hymn, and at the same time, let us ask for forgiveness. The attitude of thanksgiving prepares us for humility, to recognise and welcome the gifts of the Lord.

The apostle Paul epitomises, in the reading of today’s Vespers, the fundamental reason for our thanksgiving to God. He has made us their children; He adopted us as children. This undeserved gift fills us with gratitude and wonder! Some might say, “but are we not their children, simply through our being human?” Certainly, because God is Father of every person who is born. But without forgetting that we are far from Him through original sin, that separated us from our Father: our filial relationship is deeply hurt.

That is why God sent his Son to redeem us at the cost of His blood. If there is redemption, that is because there is slavery. We used to be sons and daughters but we became slaves by following the voice of the Evil One. No one else redeems us from that substantial slavery if not Jesus, who became man through the Virgin Mary and died on the cross to free us from the slavery of sin and return us to our lost filial condition.

At the same time, the very gift we thank for is the reason for our examination of conscience, to review our personal and community life, and to ask; what is our way of life like? Do we live as children or as slaves? Do we live as people baptised in Christ, anointed by the Spirit, redeemed, free? Or do we live according to worldly, corrupted logic, doing what the devil makes us believe is in our best interest?

Continue reading “@Pontifex: Do we live as children or as slaves?”

Pope Francis Takes Next Steps for Transparency of Vatican Bank

transparent_pig_250Pope Francis has vowed to take on the “third rails” of Vatican power: the Roman Curia and the Vatican Bank.

From news this week, he’s moving forward on cleaning house in the Vatican Bank! All of this is in line with the document released by the Pontifical Justice and Peace Council a few years ago on reforming global finance, a document that was sort of buried until Pope Francis started acting out of it. Here’s an excerpt from the Vatican Information Service release:

“The Holy See Press Office issued a press release on May 8 with the information that the Financial Intelligence Authority of the Holy See and Vatican City State (“Autorita di Informazione Finanziaria”, AIF), signed a Memorandum of Understanding that day, 7 May, in Washington, D.C., USA. The memorandum’s cosignatory was the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), its United States counterpart at the US Department of Treasury. The purpose of the collaboration is to strengthen efforts to fight money laundering and the global financing of terrorism.

The Memorandum, signed by Rene Brulhart, director of AIF, and Jennifer Shasky Calvery, director of FinCEN, will foster bi-lateral cooperation in the exchange of financial information. “This is a clear indication that the Holy See and the Vatican City State take international responsibilities to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism very seriously, and that we are cooperating at the highest levels”, said Brulhart. “The Vatican has shown that it is a credible partner internationally and has made a clear commitment in the exchange of information in this fight.”

Read more.
Read more on the the Justice and Peace document for reforming global finance.